General Election 2017

Cambridge Lib Dems lead charge to legalise cannabis

The local Lib Dem candidate Julian Huppert has relit the debate on herb, writes Violet Editor Danny Wittenberg

Danny Wittenberg

"So I was holding the toke"Louis Hashworth

In a radical election promise and audacious pitch for the student vote in cities like Cambridge, the Lib Dems have pledged to legalise cannabis.

Weed would be allowed in high street shops, with the tax raised from sales going into the public health pot, BuzzFeed News has revealed.

“Step aside, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley: there’s a new ‘green’ party in town”

Dr Huppert, seeking re-election as MP for Cambridge at this general election having held the seat from 2010 to 2015, announced their manifesto commitment to free up marijuana for recreational use.

“For almost 50 years, cannabis has been illegal in the UK. This hasn’t reduced the number of people who have had it,” Huppert said exclusively to Violet.

Julian Puffert explains his proposals on BBC NewsRTaylorUK

“It has given control of the market to criminals, who make lots of money and don’t care about people’s heath. We believe that the state should regulate this, not the criminals.”

Under what some might call the Lib Dem ‘Snoop-er’s Charter’, there would be strict regulation to ensure not only the dankest kush, but the reduction in harmful chemicals. Grass, as with alcohol and cigarettes, would be restricted to those over the age of 18 at licensed sellers.

Lib Dem chiefs are even reported to have recommended “cannabis clubs” spring up across the country as spliff-smoking safe spaces.

Step aside, Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley: there’s a new ‘green’ party in town. The former coalition fall guys, with only nine MPs in the last Parliament, are taking the drastic move of becoming the first major party to fight an election on the platform of legalising the drug.

“This policy is further proof that if you consider yourself a liberal, the Liberal Democrats are the party for you,” Will Smart, Chair of the Cambridge Student Liberal Democrats, said.

“Prohibition never works. Legalisation will save money, reduce crime, and improve public health – it’s clearly the right thing to do.”

Despite stern opposition from clean cannabis campaigners, marijuana remains a Class B drug, meaning those caught in possession can face up to five years in prison or an unlimited fine.

Theresa May has made no secret of her belief in prohibition. As Home Secretary in the previous government, she dismissed Lib Dem-backed government research suggesting existing drug laws were failing.

Hold up – we Lib Dem boyzLouis Hashworth

Although Jeremy Corbyn vowed to decriminalise draw for medical purposes during his drive for re-election as Labour leader, the policy did not feature in their draft 2017 manifesto.

Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader who might soon be inviting voters to get a whiff of more than his “spaniel”, admitted to having enjoyed the occasional toke while growing up. He is yet to comment, however, on whether smoking weed constitutes a sin.

Meanwhile, Dr Huppert confessed he has never dabbled in Cambridge’s finest. “I’m really boring. I’ve never had one,” he said. “You can believe that or not. I am that dull.”

While the closest some Cambridge students have come to blazers is Ryder & Amies tailors, pot is, of course, already an illicit pleasure for particular kinds of Cantabs.

A Varsity investigation in 2015 found the university skunk scene to be compartmentalised, mostly restricted to certain social circles and club nights at venues like Fez and The Junction or events like Turf.

According to the cannabis travel guide webehigh, Cambridge rates four out of five on the smoking tolerance scale – one being “very illegal” and five being “virtually legal”